NOPD commander says there’s little cops can do to stem car break-ins

By Nicholas Reimann, Uptown Messenger

When it comes to stopping the surge of vehicle break-ins plaguing New Orleans, there is little that police can do, NOPD Second District Commander Jeff Walls told a packed crowd at a community meeting Thursday at the NOLA VFW hall on Lyons Street. “Your frustration is our frustration,” he said. “The anger that I have about this — you have no idea,” Walls said. According to a report by The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate, crime statistics showed vehicle break-ins for 2019 were on pace to exceed 2018 numbers by 57%, with the number of vehicle break-ins increasing in New Orleans by 160% since 2015. The commander largely blamed the city’s problem on Juvenile Court judges, who he says put juvenile vehicle burglars — which make up a large portion of the offenders — back on the streets, in many cases within a day of their arrest.

Delachaise residents grapple with blight, Cohen High parking and parade Port-o-lets

By Sue Strachan, Uptown Messenger

With the Uptown Carnival parades three weeks away, the new ordinances governing parades was one of the central topics at the monthly Delachaise Neighborhood Association meeting, Tuesday (Jan. 21) at Martin Wine Cellar. Other items on the agenda included updates on a new security district, Cohen High School demolition and parking, and blight. Milan resident Helene Barnett gave an update on the demolition and rebuilding of Walter L. Cohen College Prep High School, 3520 Dryades St. The demolition is scheduled for February, but the parking variance was still a major consideration: Cohen originally had 25 parking spots.

Community meeting about the rise of crime in Uptown informative and contentious

By Sue Strachan, Uptown Messenger

Having your car broken into via smashed windows has become the new normal in New Orleans. On Tuesday, Jan. 14, a group of neighborhood associations hosted a community meeting at the Jewish Community Center to “discuss the recent uptick of crimes and ways to combat it,” stated a notice from the Faubourg Delachaise Neighborhood Association. The meeting, which was moved from a meeting room to the larger Donald Mintz Auditorium, attracted more than 100 fed-up and concerned citizens who wanted answers and solutions. What they came away with is that, particularly with juvenile crime, there is no single solution, and that any improvement is an evolving process including New Orleanians, the City Council, the NOPD, the Mayor’s Office, state legislature, and the local, state and federal judiciary.

Yearlong roadwork in Freret neighborhood to repave streets, sidewalks set to start

By Nicholas Reimann, Uptown Messenger

Around a year from now, city officials say, much of the Freret neighborhood will have repaved streets, repaired curb ramps and replaced sidewalks — with work set to start at the end of this month on a $4.2 million FEMA-funded roadwork project. Work on the project, which is one of more than 200 being funded across the city with more than $2.2 billion of FEMA money, is expected to begin on LaSalle Street either at the end of this month or early next month, according to a contractor on the project. The boundaries for improvements are bounded by South Claiborne on the north, LaSalle Street on the south, Jefferson Avenue on the west and Napoleon Avenue on the east, with an expected completion by early 2021. The work will then continue north toward South Claiborne Avenue, likely going from the Jefferson side of the project before finishing on the Napoleon side. Exact improvements on each street — available online at roadwork.nola.gov — were determined by FEMA, according to city officials.

Yearlong road repairs will begin soon in Freret Street area; meeting to provide details

The city’s Department of Public Works and the Sewerage & Water Board has planned extensive road repairs in the Freret Street area. A public meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 8, will provide residents an opportunity to learn more about the upcoming Freret Group A project and get their questions addressed, according to a notice from District B Councilman Jay Banks’ office. Roadwork NOLA is hosting the meeting to discuss the repairs scheduled to begin soon in the Freret Street area. They will include:

? Repaving the asphalt roadway from curb-to-curb;
? Patching the roadway with asphalt or concrete;
? Repairing damaged sidewalks with driveway aprons;
? Installing Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant curb ramps at intersection; and
? Replacing/repairing damaged underground water, sewer, and/or drainage lines.

Rep. Duplessis talks priorities, takes questions on homelessness at Lower Garden District Association meeting

By Sharon Lurye, Uptown Messenger

State Rep. Royce Duplessis, who represents House District 93, visited the Lower Garden District Association meeting on Monday for a question-and-answer session. District 93 includes parts of the Lower Garden District and Central City, where he lives. The election ended on Saturday for the voters, but it’s only just begun for legislators, who are now all vying for key committee positions. Duplessis said he’s working toward a spot on the House and Governmental Affairs Committee. Duplessis took Helena Moreno’s legislative seat in May 2018 after emerging victorious from a special primary election to replace Morena, who had been elected to her City Council at-large position.

Affordable housing advocates set to march and rally Saturday

The #PutHousingFirst march and rally is an effort by the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance and Home by Hand to spread awareness about the city’s need for affordable housing. Advocates and neighbors will march through Central City with?The Hot 8 Brass Band starting at 10:30 a.m., and a rally will immediately follow. The march begins at Tapps II (2800 S. Rocheblave St.) and goes to Guste Park at Simon Bolivar Ave. and MLK Blvd, where the rally will be. GNOHA hosted the first?#PutHousingFirst?march last year.

Mayor touts affordable housing amendment, pushes homeownership at District B meeting

By Jesse Baum, Uptown Messenger

Mayor Latoya Cantrell told a meeting on affordable housing Wednesday that she wants to push New Orleans to 65 percent homeownership, well above the current percentage of around 46 percent. Cantrell made an Uptown stop on her affordable housing tour at the Ashe Powerhouse Theater. The affordable housing tour has been a way for the Cantrell administration to go into different communities around the city and explain different affordability programs that are already in place. Residents in the area surrounding the Ashe Powerhouse Theater are predominantly renters, and Cantrell said she wants more homeownership to allow residents to build equity and pass that value to their children. This is especially important in New Orleans, Cantrell said, where burgeoning rent prices have pushed long-time residents out of their neighborhoods, and black renters are disproportionately likely to be cost-burdened — paying over 30 percent of their household income to housing costs.

Renewable energy campaign kicks off with event tonight in Broadmoor

Audubon Louisiana, in partnership with the Energy Future New Orleans Coalition, is kicking off its campaign for a Resilient Renewable Portfolio Standard New Orleans with a community meeting tonight. The event for City Council Districts A and B will be held at the Broadmoor Arts and Wellness Center, 3900 Gen. Taylor St., 2nd floor, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The group plans to ask the New Orleans City Council to support a strong Renewable Portfolio Standard. “By committing to 100% renewable energy by 2040, New Orleans can become a leader in the clean energy economy while addressing the greatest challenges faced by residents,” the coalition states. Organizer Angie Torres will be guiding the meeting, and Monique Harden of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice is a guest speaker. Community members are also invited to speak.